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Team-Building: Three (Newish) Trends In Team-Building Activities
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Team-Building: Three (Newish) Trends In Team-Building Activities - Executive Leadership Articles

Team-Building: Three (Newish) Trends In Team-Building Activities

Executive Leadership Articles

Team-Building: Three (Newish) Trends In Team-Building Activities

As we have said multiple times, a good team-building activity is seldom characterized by the activity itself. Usually the real bonding comes with the interaction of the team, the conversation and camaraderie that can emerge when people relax a bit away from the confines of the office building. Still, variety is always nice, and your people will get blasé about activities if they tend to be the same thing every year (or quarter, or however often you do them). It’s a sad truth that your team will tend to appreciate things that seem to require some thought and creativity on your part, and come down on doing the same thing, even if the same thing is pretty popular. So we surveyed a few people around us for ideas, followed up with a bit of web research, and came up with three loose categories of team-building activities people are talking about nowadays.

We’ve already covered the new puzzle-based escape rooms, so we’re leaving that one out of this overview, but be aware that they’re still growing in popularity for team-building, even as they aren’t quite as hot as they once were among young professionals hanging with their friends.

Crafty Team-Building
Around the same time escape rooms began blooming in metro areas around the world, paint nights were already a thing, and the crowds tended to be similar: mostly (‘though not all) upwardly mobile young professionals, the Instagram-Snapchat crowd. Participants, often groups of friends, gather at a studio, gallery, or bar, where they are given canvases, paints, and brushes. A teacher guides them through some basic techniques, giving ideas as they build toward a finished painting intended to look something like the teacher’s example. People love this activity because it gives creative people enough room to express their individual styles while less creative people create nice-looking art that usually exceeds their expectations for themselves. The evening often culminates with a group photo of groups of friends each holding up his or her creation. The only things brighter than the artwork are the smiles on participants’ faces. These paint studios have made use of daytime hours too, offering their services for team-building activities.

A similar alternative, also popular for team-builders, is the ceramics-glazing studio, where participants pick out unglazed ceramic ware, spend a few hours painting glaze on it, and then waiting a day or two for the art to be fired in a kiln. The drawback here is that the finished product isn’t available until much later, which tends to decrease the joy a bit. On the other hand, it can extend a good vibe a few days while everyone waits eagerly to see each other’s work.

Building Teams by Conquering
Although not nearly as popular in the mainstream as they were more than a decade ago, laser tag and paintball as team-building activities continue to be a thing. In fact, laser tag seems now to be the domain exclusively of little kids and bonding professionals. Nowadays, typical laser tag facilities are indoor fun-and-games spaces, with video games and party rooms, plus a large area for laser tag games. Things are decorated with kids in mind, which sometimes makes things more fun for grownup participants.

Paintball facilities are the same now as ever: almost always fields on edges of town or out in the sticks, strews with barrels, bunkers, and the occasional tool shed. For team-building, paintball seems to be far less popular among our respondents, as the games require a change of clothes, and the activity is held out of doors, often in sunny, dirty circumstances. Laser tag, meanwhile, is played in air-conditioned malls, often on carpeted floors, and games are less likely to be dominated by bossy, athletic people. People tend to be less threatened by laser tag, although our survey shows support for both activities when compared to a typical day at the office.

Make sure you coach your teams to remind them this is just a game, and nobody at any time should feel picked-on or bullied. Keep an eye out: you know what competition does to some people!

Team-Building through Enhanced Knowledge
Don’t rule out the value of less hands-on activities that simply take company time to expand the horizons of your team. A guided visit to a museum, planetarium, or zoo, especially when tailored to grownups, can encourage camaraderie as participants simply soak up and embrace the joy of learning something they seldom take time to pay attention to. Again, the good team-building comes from positive interaction. The casual conversation that arises as people stroll from the elephant enclosure to the monkey cage can be just what the doctor orders. Fresh air, sunshine, decreased stress, and conversation? They are good not only for lowering our blood pressures; they are good for raising our spirits. Add a picnic or something similar and you may not have a computer printout describing personality types, and you may not have photos of teamwork in action for the annual report, but you do have fertile ground for goodwill among employees.

It doesn’t hurt to vary the activity from one bonding day to the next, but think a little wider sometimes, and vary the type of activity as well. Good luck, and (most important) have fun!


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Team-Building: Three (Newish) Trends In Team-Building Activities - Executive Leadership Articles

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